JOTF E-Newsletter

January 2008

The Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) is pleased to bring you the latest edition of its electronic newsletter. The JOTF E-Newsletter includes news, announcements, and information about upcoming events in the Baltimore area that we hope will be of interest to you. If your organization would like to publicize an event, job announcement, or other information, please e-mail: jessica[@]jotf.org.

In this issue:

JOTF NEWS

JOTF Announces "PastForward", A New Marketing Campaign

JOTF Returns to Annapolis for Session '08
JOTF Partners with CASH Campaign to Host Tax Credit Workshop

 

OTHER NEWS

Baltimore Sun, "Employers are key to convicts' fresh start" (01/31/2008)
Daily Record, "MedStar, high school team on 'Rx for Success' to combat worker shortage" (01/29/2008)
Federal Policy Update, New TANF Regulations Ease Restrictions on Education & Training (01/28/2008)
Baltimore Sun, "IRS takes a step on refund loans" (01/08/2007)
Consumer Alert: Big Tax Bills For Forgiven Debt May Be In Your Future (12/18/2007)
Baltimore Sun, "Homeless 'out there' closer than you think" (12/16/2007)

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Prince George's County Department of Social Services to Hold Energy Assistance Program (02/05/2008)
Baltimore CASH Campaign With Local Maryland Sponsors to Host "Money Power Day" (02/16/2008)
Greater Homewood Community Corporation Holds 7th Annual Scrabble Fundraiser for Literacy (04/05/2008)

 

OPPORTUNITIES

Seedco Seeks Financial Education Coordinator
Primo Electric Company / Primenet Inc Job Opportunities

 

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JOTF NEWS

JOTF Announces "PastForward", A New Marketing Campaign

JOTF is pleased to announce the launch of PastForward, our new marketing campaign designed to encourage employers to hire individuals with criminal backgrounds.

The campaign materials tell stories of real, hardworking Marylanders who have moved past their criminal record to become outstanding employees and productive members of our community. As part of the campaign, we have produced a 12-minute documentary style film that features success stories of ex-offenders, employers, and public officials. Film clips and additional resource information can be viewed on a new website www.pastforwardmd.org.

Look for us to announce an event to more formally kick off PastForward where you will be able to see the movie, hear directly from some of the participants and share your thoughts and ideas. To get the word out, we’ve rented a billboard on route 83 and will soon mail 5,000 postcards intended to direct prospective employers, human resource professionals and the general public to the new website to learn more about how to read a criminal background check, tax incentives and organizations that can help with the hiring process.

Working together, we can open new employment possibilities for people who have made a mistake in their life and who are committed to getting a job and changing their life for the better.

The PastForward campaign has been made possible by a grant from the Open Society Institute - Baltimore.

 

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JOTF Returns to Annapolis for Session '08

The 2008 session of the Maryland General Assembly is currently underway. Click here to view JOTF's public policy agenda.

If you would like to receive JOTF's weekly public policy updates, please contact Melissa Broome at 410-234-8046.

 

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JOTF Partners with CASH Campaign to Host Tax Credit Workshop

On January 10th, 2008, JOTF and Baltimore CASH Campaign presented “Making Tax Time Pay: How the Earned Income Tax Credit Benefits Working Families.” The annual workshop gave local service providers and advocates the information they need to help ensure their clients take advantage of all the tax credits they are entitled to.

The most significant credit most low-income families can claim is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC was created in 1975 to encourage employment among low-income workers, reduce their tax-burden, and supplement their wages. Yet many working families are not aware of this benefit, or remain unsure about how to claim it. Through education and outreach about the EITC, workforce development agencies and other community-based organizations can help boost family incomes, promote mainstream employment, and stimulate local economies.

Pam Chaney, the CASH Campaign’s Operations Director, discussed the benefits and eligibility criteria for the most relevant tax credits, and Kristal Lukacs gave an overview of free tax services available to low-income Baltimore area residents. The Annie E. Casey Foundation generously provided space for the event.

To learn more about available tax credits and free tax services, click here to view power point presentation: "A Campaign for Working Families".


If you work with clients who could benefit from these services, the following resources are available for downloading and distribution:

Click here for the Baltimore CASH Campaign 2008 Informational Flier in PDF format.
Provides a listing of free tax prep sites around Baltimore and details for clients seeking assistance.

Click here for the EITC Informational Flier in PDF format.
Gives clients the information they need on claiming the valuable Earned Income Tax Credit.

(Document is in PDF format.)


These and other promotional materials are available in English and Spanish from the Baltimore CASH Campaign.

Contact Kristal Lukacs at 443-451-4076 for more information.

 

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OTHER NEWS

Baltimore Sun, "Employers are key to convicts' fresh start" (01/31/2008)

Dan Rodricks, columnist for the Baltimore Sun, voices that it's time for business leaders to open up to hiring ex-offenders so that they are not time and again rejected and left unemployable. He also makes mention of JOTF's new campaign, PastForward.

Read "Employers are key to convicts' fresh start " (01/31/2008)

 

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Daily Record, "MedStar, high school team on 'Rx for Success' to combat worker shortage" (01/29/2008)

Karen Buckelew, of the Daily Record, reports on the west-Baltimore located Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, who is working with MedStar to enhance its medical arts program. The partnership is striving to give students a taste of various health careers, including offering them paid summer internships at one of MedStar's seven hospitals and its network of health businesses.

Read "MedStar, high school team on 'Rx for Success' to combat worker shortage" (01/29/2008)

 

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Federal Policy Update, New TANF Regulations Ease Restrictions on Education & Training (01/28/2008)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced new rules that will make it easier for adults to participate in education and training programs while receiving cash assistance through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

All TANF recipients are required to participate in a work activity, and previous rules defined work very narrowly. While some types of vocational education were allowed, work towards a Bachelor’s or advanced degree was excluded. The new rules make it easier for students to acquire marketable job skills by easing this restriction.

Recipients will now be able to count up to one year of vocational or degree-seeking education as a work activity. The new rules also ease restrictions around homework. Previous rules required this study time to be supervised. This requirement that was found to be unrealistic, and will be loosened. The rules will be officially published this week, and will take effect on October 1, 2008.

For more information, read an overview from the Workforce Alliance, or see coverage from the Baltimore Sun:

The Workforce Alliance: New Rules to Loosen Training Restrictions
Baltimore Sun: New Welfare Rule Friendlier to Students

 

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Baltimore Sun, "IRS takes a step on refund loans" (01/08/2008)

Eileen Ambrose, finance columnist for the Baltimore Sun, reports on the IRS' review of refund anticipation loans (RALs). The agency will seek public comment on whether RALs provide paid tax preparers with an incentive to inflate a filer's refund.

Read "IRS takes a step on refund loans" (01/08/2008)

 

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Consumer Alert: Big Tax Bills For Forgiven Debt May Be In Your Future (12/18/2007)

For many Maryland homeowners, losing their home to foreclosure is devastating financially and emotionally. If the homeowner has part of the debt forgiven during the foreclosure process, they are required to include the forgiven amount as income on their tax return.

This amount is called a 'windfall' and often taxes will be owed on that amount.

Read "Consumer Alert: Big Tax Bills For Forgiven Debt May Be In Your Future" (12/18/2007)

 

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Baltimore Sun, "Homeless 'out there' closer than you think" (12/16/2007)

As city officials moved the homeless out of the shantytown under the Jones Falls Expressway, Dan Rodricks, columnist for The Baltimore Sun, writes about the links between persistent poverty, near-poverty, and homelessness.

Read "Homeless 'out there' closer than you think" (12/16/2007)

 

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Prince George's County Department of Social Services to Hold Energy Assistance Program (02/05/2008)

The Prince George's County Department of Social Services will hold an energy assistance program at Oxon Hill county library on Tuesday, February 5, from 6.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. The informational session will feature:

A. Information about qualification for Energy Assistance Programs as well as receive application forms.
B. Information on how to save on energy costs.
C. Free energy efficient light bulbs will be distributed.

Click here to find out more about the program.

Oxon Hill Library --6:00 to 7:30 PM
6200 Oxon Hill Rd.
Oxon Hill, MD 20745.

 

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Baltimore CASH Campaign With Local Maryland Sponsors to Host "Money Power Day" (02/16/2008)

Baltimore CASH Campaign, MECU Baltimore's Credit Union, M & T Bank, Citi Financial, SECU Credit Union, City of Baltimore, and other local institutes sponsor "Money Power Day", 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on Saturday, February 16 at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Coldspring Lane, Baltimore, Maryland.

Money Power Day is a FREE annual event providing Baltimore City residents and workers with quality financial services like:

- Free tax preparation
- Free credit report
- Customized financial planning
- Housing counseling
- Credit counseling
- Screening for public benefits

Money Power Day exhibitors provide workforce, housing, financial, legal and small business services as well as screening for benefits, and services from state/city agencies, insurance companies and many more organizations. If you are a Baltimore City resident or worker, do not miss this opportunity to have one-to-one financial counseling and support.

Click here for more Money Power Day 2008 information.

 

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Greater Homewood Community Corporation Holds 7th Annual Scrabble Fundraiser for Literacy (04/05/2008)

Play one of America’s most popular games for a good cause at the Seventh Annual Scrabble® Fundraiser for Literacy on Saturday, April 5 at Calvert School, 4300 N. Charles Street, Baltimore at 6 p.m.

Entry is $30 ($20 for students with ID and seniors aged 62 and over). Proceeds will benefit adult literacy and ESOL classes at the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC).

Games will be offered at both “competitive” and “social” levels. Winners will receive prizes from local retailers and restaurants. Food, refreshments, and free parking are available for all participants.

The Greater Homewood Adult Literacy & ESOL Program annually provides more than 300 adult learners and non-native English speakers with professionally trained and supervised tutors and instructors.

To register, make a donation, or get information about the Greater Homewood Adult Literacy & ESOL Program, please call (410) 261-3520 or contact Todd Elliott.

Help spread the word, click here for information flier.

 

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OPPORTUNITIES

Seedco Seeks Financial Education Coordinator

Seedco is a $30+ million national nonprofit organization that works with local partners to create economic opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers, workers and neighborhood entrepreneurs. Seedco use practical, effective strategies to address the challenges confronting Americans who are struggling to leave poverty and achieve economic progress. Working on these issues for more than two decades, Seedco is a leader in implementing innovative, multi-partner initiatives that foster financial advancement and security.

Seedco is recruiting a Financial Education Coordinator (“Coordinator”) to join Seedco’s Asset Building Division. This is a new position in Seedco’s Baltimore office. The Coordinator’s primary responsibility is to build a professional network among existing organizations providing financial literacy services. The purpose of this network is to centralize information about financial literacy programs to encourage uniform service delivery, and provide technical assistance to organizations developing financial literacy programs. The Coordinator will work closely with EarnBenefits Partners, the local steering committee, and the Baltimore City CASH Campaign Coalition to promote financial literacy programs.

Click here for full description of the position.

 

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Primo Electric Company / Primenet Inc Job Opportunities (November 2007)

Since their founding more than 40 years ago, Primo Electric Company has promoted an environment where people take pride in their work. As a result, Primo employees enjoy challenging careers, valuable educational opportunities and a competitive wage and benefit package. All in a workplace that emphasizes teamwork, safety, commitment and mutual respect. Whether seeking an apprenticeship, laborer, journeyman, foreman, or equipment operator position, Primo Electric offers numerous career opportunities.

PrimeNet Inc specializes in helping clients define, optimize, and manage their voice, data, video, and security communication systems. At PrimeNet, pride is more than just a feeling; its a concrete attitude and philosophy that influences every aspect of their business. As a result, employees enjoy challenging careers, valuable educational opportunities (Including onsite BICSI® certification) and a competitive wage and benefits package. All in a workplace that emphasizes teamwork, safety, commitment and mutual respect.

Click here to view Primo Electric Company and Primenet Inc job opportunities as of November 28, 2007.

 

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Newsletter Editor: Jessica Traskey
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